Category Archives: Internet

XML vs. HTML 5.0

Scott Loginbill has an interesting piece on the (ever-so-slowly) emerging HTML 5.0 standard. If its more prominent features become standard across the major browser platforms, it will revolutionize the web.

I was especially intrigued by this perspective from Mozilla engineering VP Mike Shaver regarding the impact of HTML 5.0 on XML, a markup language that has taken the information world by storm in recent years.

Shaver says the HTML 5 movement was born out of impatience. Many sensed activity around web standards was stagnating as the W3C started directing its attention away from HTML and to another emerging technology, XML.

“A lot of new architectures — XML based work — were designed to replace HTML in the web,” says Shaver. “We were really not convinced that was the way it should go forward. We don’t think people should be throwing (web technology) away to get (the web) to go forward.”

If HTML 5.0 really does take off, this could set up a showdown between the two markup languages.

Thinking in Google Time

Guy Billout explores how the Internet has changed the way we think — with serious long-term consequences in how we process information.

Over the past few years I’ve had an uncomfortable sense that someone, or something, has been tinkering with my brain, remapping the neural circuitry, reprogramming the memory. My mind isn’t going—so far as I can tell—but it’s changing. I’m not thinking the way I used to think. I can feel it most strongly when I’m reading. Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.

I’m sure the rest of the article was quite interesting, but I had to rush on to other links . . . .

Can I Take a Virtual Tour Online?

A new museum has just opened in Washington, D. C., dedicated to honoring the role of newspapers in preserving free speech in America.

Somehow this seems appropriate. As traditional newspapers are fast going the way of the dodo bird with the rise of the New Media, a museum will soon be the only place you can find a newspaper.

Climate Change in Wikipedia

I often use Wikipedia to get quick facts on a wide range of topics. I have usually found its user-generated information to be thorough and helpful.

But on the subject of global warming, there appears to be a global warming zealot in the editor’s chair, who is working tirelessly to ensure that only the “consensus” viewpoint is given credence. Lawrence Solomon relates his own experience at trying to post information on the history of the global warming debate. He no sooner posts his information, than the esteemed editor deletes or changes his entry.

By patrolling Wikipedia pages and ensuring that her spin reigns supreme over all climate change pages, she has made of Wikipedia a propaganda vehicle for global warming alarmists.

Solomon’s experience demonstrates once again that the current global warming alarmism is not based on science, but on a political agenda.

Solomon, by the way, has just published a compilation of articles he has written over the last couple of years profiling a number of distinguished scientists who challenge the prevailing wisdom on global warming.

Infections are Everywhere

This is unnerving:

From iPods to navigation systems, some of today’s hottest gadgets are landing on store shelves with some unwanted extras from the factory: pre-installed viruses that steal passwords, open doors for hackers and make computers spew spam.

I’m sure it’s an isolated problem, but it’s another reason to keep one’s virus protection software up to date.

Happy Anniversary

This blog was born one year ago today.  What has this experience taught me?

  • That there is far more information on the internet than any one person can possibly read.
  • That those who do this sort of thing very, very well must spend an awful lot of time on it.
  • That the age of an all-powerful media controlling what people read and hear is rapidly coming to an end — and with their demise, a cacophony of small but loud voices is taking their place. The impact of this new paradigm remains to be seen, but I suspect it will serve our republic well.
  • Finally, that there is a HUGE interest in a fourth Bourne movie. My post on that topic has received far more hits than any other topic.

I intend to keep this up, but I do have a life to live, so don’t expect daily postings.

“Dumbness is Us”

Check out this interview with Susan Jacoby, author of the new book, The Age of American Unreason. Jacoby argues that the rise of infotainment as a channel for disseminating “news” is destroying Americans’ ability to read and converse, reducing our ability to respond effectively to the world.

Dumbness is us. When I hear people saying, “You were lied to,” usually in relation to the Iraq war, I think the fundamental question we should ask is really why we as a people were so susceptible to lies. If we don’t know where Iraq is on a map, if we don’t know anything about other cultures, if we don’t know anything about our history, the problem comes from us.

She believes the internet contributes to the problem. Perhaps so, but that’s not the fault of the internet, but of how people use it. Still, when watching how the electorate is being so shamelessly manipulated in this election cycle, you can’t help but agree with Jacoby’s basic thesis.